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FT Micro Cruiser - balsa edition

Hey folks, I've been slowly getting back into the hobby, and despite still having a build log longer than my arm, I figured I should pay a little homage to FT for all the great content they've provided me. With that in mind, I offer the micro balsa version of the FT Cruiser.

Wingspan 12"
1/32" balsa fuselage and tail
1/16" balsa wing
AeroAce 2 channel RX and 6mm motors (thrust differential steering)
Empty weight 13.7g
AUW w/50mah 16.3g

Just finished it tonight, fingers crossed for a nice day tomorrow for the maiden. Looks like it should fly quite well, though the 50mah is a bit too small so flight times will be short. Really like the look of this plane though, will be building a larger one eventually. Thanks, Flight Test!


Oh, I wasnt sure if I should post this here or somewhere else, if a moderator wants to move it to a more appropriate forum, thats ok by me.



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Thanks guys, and thanks to Josh for the great design! Most of my builds are off basic 3 view drawings that I fiddle with in CorelDraw, having a nice set of plans helped a lot. I've done a small handful of foam models over the years, but am much more comfortable with balsa, especially at this size where foam usually fights me. No maiden today unfortunately, 25+mph winds, this thing would be gone in a heartbeat, but I'll certainly get some video for the maiden.

Thanks! Unfortunately by the time the wind died down, it was pretty much dark outside. Maybe I can sneak in the maiden tomorrow morning before it picks back up.
Well, not the most graceful maiden I've ever had, but not the worst either. Thought the CG was right, but kept having to move it forward, eventually to the point where it was quite nose heavy, yet it would still pitch up with throttle. Didnt check the incidence, but I'm pretty sure it needs some down thrust on the motors.

The electronics didnt help either, its been a long time since I've used the AeroAce parts and have forgotten how slow they are to respond, the TX batteries were a bit low too and that didnt help. I may yank out the RX and put in the better 3 channel one that I have, but will adjust the motors and put in some new batteries and give it another go first. I lost one of the props at the end too...kind of a bummer as they're really nice for 6mm motors.

Think she's a keeper!


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To quote a Jimmy Buffet song, a little dab will do ya...of down thrust, that is. A sliver of 1/32" balsa under the back end of the motor and some fresh batteries in the TX and its much better, not to mention starting to remember how to properly fly an RC plane that doesnt have an elevator. Still might swap out the RX for a better one, but for now, I'm pleased.


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Hey Nick!

I have to say I am impressed! To scale something like that down and allow for it to continue to have great flight characteristics is a feat in itself! I LOVE the look of it and to be honest, might tell one of the guys here to have a go at it with FOAMBOARD and use those 1104 motors or something! MICRO PLANES for the WIN! ha We shall see! ha

Thanks so much for your work and for inspiring others through the passion you bring!

Blessings Nick!

Hi Stefan!

Thank you for the kind words, all I did was build a small version of what you guys created, so thank YOU!

How thick is your foamboard? If too thick, you can always use foam dinner plates, they're thin and lightweight and work great for micro foam builds. I'll be getting some of those 1104 motors and the ESCs as well at some point, they are perfect for micro planes when brushed motors just wont do the job (or when you want a 3S rocket!).

Thanks! It actually went together quite easily, and once the down thrust was added, it flew quite well despite the minimal controls (just throttle and thrust differential steering, no rudder, elevator, or ailerons)...a testament to the plans/design for sure. Balsa is a different beast than foam, but glue is glue, you should build one!

I've just found out there are engines and servos that literally weigh grams. Servos that weigh 1.5 grams and engines that weigh 3 grams. Next time I am in Hobby Lobby I will be purchasing one of those rubber band planes for sure.

More research needed.
Wait till you get into the magnetic actuators that weigh around 0.1 grams or less and are wound with 50awg wire!

I think the lightest plane I ever built was a living room flyer that came in at 2.8 grams ready to fly, and that thing was a pig in comparison to what others have done. Pretty amazing.

Check out Plantraco, they're about the only ones doing RTF living room flyers, otherwise if you do a search on youtube for living room flyer there's a bunch of videos. I'll see if I can find the pics of mine, but the 2.8g one was built back in 2006 so its been a while. On my youtube channel microbuilder there's one I did called the Custer channel wing, it uses the parts from the ParkZone Vapor so its quite heavy for a living room flyer, but the design allows for some mighty slow flying. If you want to do living room flying for a good price, the ParkZone Mini Vapor is a great start, and the parts are excellent for making your own planes too. Careful though, this stuff gets really addicting lol


edit: oh, and if you want to see some of the nicest micro planes ever built, check out Martin Newells youtube channel. The man is a master, one of his planes comes in at less than 0.5 grams ready to fly and his P-51D Mustang is a work of art!

edit again: I went through some of my LRF videos and put together a small compilation. For reference, I weighed a piece of regular printer paper and it came in at 4.4 grams.
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